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Historic Moments

This Week in NASCAR History: June 22-28

California Speedway makes its NASCAR debut and Tony Stewart scores a dramatic final victory.

NASCAR was a hit when it returned to Southern California in 1997. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 22, 1997

California Speedway (now Auto Club Speedway), a state-of-the-art Southern California 2-mile track owned and developed by Hall of Famer Roger Penske (2019), hosted its first NASCAR premier series race. Hall of Fame teammates Jeff Gordon (2019) and Terry Labonte (2016) finished 1-2 driving Chevrolets owned by fellow Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick (2017). First place paid $144,600, with the runner-up spot worth $100,825.

Martin Truex Jr. emerges from his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota victorious at Sonoma Raceway in 2019. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 23, 2019

On the Sonoma Raceway road course in Northern California, 2018 NASCAR premier series champion Martin Truex Jr. wheeled one of Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs’ (2019) Toyotas to a victory in the Toyota/Save Mart 350. On the season, Joe Gibbs Racing won 19 of 36 points races, a record in NASCAR’s Modern Era.

Curtis Turner ended his career with 17 wins in NASCAR's premier series. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 24, 1951

In the 12th of 41 races on the season, Hall of Famer Curtis Turner (2016) had the field covered at Dayton Speedway, a 0.500-mile paved track in Ohio, Driving a 1951 Oldsmobile, Turner passed Hall of Famer Tim Flock (2014) and his Hudson Hornet on Lap 24, and held the lead for the final 177 laps, earning $1,000 for the triumph.

Lee Petty comes in for a pit stop. Cleaning the windshield was a challenge at the dirt tracks in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 25, 1958

NASCAR’s all-time record for wins on dirt tracks was set by Hall of Famer Lee Petty (2011), who scored 32 of his 54 career premier series victories on dirt tracks. At Lincoln Speedway in New Oxford, Pennsylvania, Petty bested another Hall of Famer, Buck Baker (2013), earning $800 in the process.

Tony Stewart breaks an 84-race winless streak. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 26, 2016

In a dramatic finish, Hall of Famer Tony Stewart (2020) led the at the start of the last lap of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, only to be passed by his former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin on the back half of the twisty road course. But in the last turn, Stewart dove under Hamlin, shoving him out of the groove. Stewart won the drag race back to the checkered flag to score his 49th and final NASCAR premier series race victory.

Bobby Isaac was a North Carolina native. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 27, 1970

Hall of Famer Bobby Isaac (2016) earned his only premier series championship in 1970, when he won 11 races and scored 13 poles in his No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge owned by Nord Krauskopf. In the Greenville 200 at South Carolina’s Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Isaac captured the first place and picked up $1,500 when he beat fellow Hall of Famer Bobby Allison (2011) to the checkered flag by half a lap.

Jeff Gordon won nine road course races during his career - five at Sonoma and four at Watkins Glen. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

June 28, 1998

Northern California native and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon (2019) excelled as a road racer and loved to compete at Sears Point Raceway (now Sonoma Raceway). Gordon dominated the Save Mart/Kragen 350 in a Chevrolet owned by Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick (2017) and wrenched by Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham (2018). Gordon took the checkered flag 2.748 seconds ahead of Bobby Hamilton and John Andretti, earning $160,675 in the process.

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a veteran of more than 20 years in the NASCAR media industry.

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